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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Campus Luokkanen

Vieraskieliset / In-english
26.7.2020 6.35

Juttua muokattu:

24.7. 11:44

I’m sure this will be OK. We will just do one month of dis­tan­ce schoo­ling at home. No-one will need to re­pe­at a grade, no-one will be se­ri­ous­ly left be­hind in such a short time. Very good that none of our kids have any need for spe­ci­al sup­port, and I on­ly have five kids to keep an eye on. Some ot­hers will have a lot more to do.

I choo­se to think po­si­ti­ve­ly, and I am al­re­a­dy vi­su­a­li­zing all those slow and em­po­we­ring days of on­li­ne inst­ruc­ti­on that will glide past us like end­less rest­ful Sa­tur­da­ys.

In re­a­li­ty, ho­we­ver, by the se­cond day of on­li­ne inst­ruc­ti­on I am ta­king deep bre­aths and won­de­ring se­ri­ous­ly how I can make my first-gra­der sit still on his chair, so that he will do most of his school work in a sit­ting po­si­ti­on. Even just for a qu­ar­ter of an hour at a time.

Stu­pid­ly, ho­we­ver, he seems to pre­fer doing his math as­sign­ment on the purc­ha­sing po­wer of two eu­ros by stan­ding on his head against the back of the sofa. But what if his cir­cu­la­ti­on re­al­ly works bet­ter that way? Should I try my­self? Ac­tu­al­ly, he did his as­sign­ment qui­te quick­ly and conc­lu­ded that two eu­ros would be enough for a bag of can­dy or a pair or se­cond-hand trai­ners.

He finds it qui­te im­pos­sib­le to con­cent­ra­te on the Fin­nish lan­gu­a­ge. The loo­se tooth in his mouth is so much more in­te­res­ting. He keeps touc­hing it all the time. He says it is co­ming off any mo­ment now. I ask him to keep his mouth open, so that I can see about it. I hard­ly need to touch the tooth be­fo­re it fal­ls on the tab­le.

The joy about the fal­len tooth is like the joy of a vic­to­ri­ous war­lord. But it was such a pain­ful pro­ce­du­re that he just can­not con­ti­nue with his Fin­nish. How about an hour of com­pu­ter ga­mes? he sug­gests.

Dear, dear te­ac­hers, I deep­ly res­pect you for being ab­le to te­ach these kid­dies anyt­hing at all, es­pe­ci­al­ly as you have twen­ty-three of them in yo­ur clas­s­room.

It helps me a lit­t­le to know that ot­her pa­rents are stuck in the same qu­ag­mi­re. Some pro­bab­ly have a bit more so­lid hum­mock to stand on, while some ot­hers are al­re­a­dy knee-deep in mud, but I am sure none of them are ha­ving a good time. Or ma­y­be I am, if I look at this through my cle­a­ner glas­ses.

My hus­band is ab­le to work re­mo­te­ly from our sto­re­room, where he built a home of­fi­ce bet­ween the slee­ping bags and pi­les of emp­ty buc­kets. He said he was not going to have his Skype mee­tings in the hou­se, and for some re­a­son I un­ders­tand him. Even the kids are being qui­te re­a­so­nab­le about the si­tu­a­ti­on, ex­cept the teen-ager who wants to know just why he can­not go ska­te­bo­ar­ding with his friends.

And I do not know it eit­her. I do not know what is nor­mal in this si­tu­a­ti­on, or if we are over­re­ac­ting or un­der­re­ac­ting. When you can on the one hand, but can­not on the ot­her, and then the prime mi­nis­ter said very emp­ha­ti­cal­ly that kids should avoid all kinds of so­ci­al con­tact. I send a screen cap­tu­re of the mi­nis­te­ri­al sta­te­ment to my son. You know, this is a rule set by the go­vern­ment, not by yo­ur pa­rents.

But what if the kids just can­not re­sist the temp­ta­ti­on, if the se­ni­ors run away from their home iso­la­ti­on, and if that cur­ly girl per­son simp­ly needs to go and buy the right kind of sham­poo just now? And what about me as a mot­her wan­ting to go and buy ketc­hup to go with the pas­ta cas­se­ro­le? Does all the strain and ef­fort go to was­te, if each of us che­ats just a lit­t­le?

“This book is my worst ene­my,” growls the first-gra­der, who is sup­po­sed find dipht­hongs in his text­book. I un­ders­tand that dipht­hongs are just about the last thing he finds in­te­res­ting right now. Frank­ly, I tend to ag­ree, but it is not good for any te­ac­her to say so. We find the dipht­hongs, I tell him he is a very cle­ver boy, and at the same time I qui­et­ly won­der how long it will take the third-gra­der and me to trans­la­te the next chap­ter of Eng­lish in­to his exer­ci­se book.

I re­cent­ly re­a­li­zed that the boy had not done any of his trans­la­ti­ons so far. He has so­me­how ma­na­ged to skip the whole thing, but now he will be un­der his mot­her’s ob­ser­vant eye and trans­la­te his as­sign­ments. It is a lot of work to check each word in the glos­sa­ry. It is al­most as if I had pla­ced a book in Heb­rew un­der his nose. Eve­ry pie­ce of ac­ti­on ta­kes very, very long, and the trans­la­tor’s fa­ci­al exp­res­si­on re­mains one of cons­tant hor­ror.

Yet, I de­ci­de to take this si­tu­a­ti­on as me­re­ly a mi­nor chal­len­ge. Ha­ving sat at the kitc­hen tab­le bet­ween two pri­ma­ry school kids for two hours, I al­most hope they could take their tests right af­ter they go back to school, so the te­ac­hers would see which of the moms were re­al­ly fin­ding the dipht­hongs and which we­ren’t.

With the big­ger kids I made a uni­la­te­ral cont­ract that they would take care of their school as­sign­ments in­de­pen­dent­ly and on­ly con­sult their mot­her if they nee­ded help. I felt very luc­ky that our on­ly high schoo­ler had just sat his fi­nal math exam. If he had nee­ded his mot­her to help him with his ad­van­ced math, I would have simp­ly smi­led ten­der­ly and sug­ges­ted that he should ask me to do so­met­hing el­se. I thought the mid­d­le school kids would not en­coun­ter anyt­hing qui­te so dif­fi­cult that I could not ma­na­ge

That was what I thought on the first day of qu­a­ran­ti­ne.

To be more pre­ci­se, that was what I thought un­til 1 pm on the first day.

The ninth-gra­der came downs­tairs with her lap­top, wor­king on an im­por­tant che­mist­ry as­sign­ment that was due to be re­tur­ned right away. They were al­lo­wed to use books and ot­her re­sour­ces, but she see­med to trust firm­ly in her mot­her and as­ked me if I could just check one point. “Write down the che­mi­cal sym­bols of the me­tal and the me­tal ion. Can they cau­se a re­ac­ti­on to­get­her, and if they can, what kind of a re­ac­ti­on will it be? And there is a pic­tu­re of a cup with a stick in it and there are al­so let­ters and plus signs and very many small num­bers.

I take my time and use the Goog­le. Then, ac­cor­ding to my ori­gi­nal stra­te­gy, I smile ten­der­ly at my child and tell her to just think about it ca­re­ful­ly, as I’m sure she can fi­gu­re out the cor­rect ans­wer.

So, I did not help her. Be­cau­se I had no idea what it was all about.

I keep re­a­ding the mes­sa­ges that keep floo­ding in. The guy te­ac­hing the third grade is so won­der­ful that I’m al­most in te­ars. “I gu­ess I’m going to miss you real bad, as I’m al­re­a­dy mis­sing you a lit­t­le”, he wri­tes to his class. He has set up a mes­sa­ge chain for the pa­rents and the child­ren where we can share our ex­pe­rien­ces. How thought­ful! I’m hap­py for about five mi­nu­tes, un­til the flow of mes­sa­ges re­al­ly be­gins, and my phone beeps all the time.

“Hi, I got an email,” one of the pu­pils says. Five se­conds la­ter there is a new mes­sa­ge, a thumbs-up. The next pu­pil says: “I got a what­sup.” Anot­her says he al­so got one, and yet anot­her sends a smi­ley. One says she has al­re­a­dy done her pro­ject, and the fourth is won­de­ring when the as­sign­ments for the next day are co­ming. So­me­o­ne is won­de­ring what he should eat, and so­me­o­ne tel­ls him to eat piz­za. Mes­sa­ges are flying back and forth, and my phone obe­dient­ly beeps for eve­ry one of them.

At first I feel I do not want to join the con­ver­sa­ti­on. I just de­le­te the tens of in­co­ming mes­sa­ges. But then one smart pa­rent asks the te­ac­her if they could have anot­her chan­nel for the pu­pils on­ly, so that the pa­rents would not miss the re­al­ly im­por­tant mes­sa­ges among the comp­le­ted pro­jects and piz­zas. The te­ac­her ag­rees and then ad­vi­ses eve­ry­bo­dy to stick to what is re­al­ly im­por­tant.

I am wri­ting this text on the se­cond day of lock­down. We on­ly have 26 days left, ho­pe­ful­ly not more than that. Alt­hough I’m be­gin­ning to have a si­nis­ter fee­ling that there may be more to come.

I feel that the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her gave us this cri­sis to stop us, sel­fish pe­op­le, who are so used to ea­sy li­ving. He gave us time and took away the hur­ry, which is what I have so of­ten pra­yed for. On­ly I ne­ver ex­pec­ted this kind of res­pon­se to my pra­yer.

I tell my child­ren that it is good to be at home. There is not­hing we need to wor­ry about. We will sur­vi­ve if we on­ly to­le­ra­te the si­tu­a­ti­on and our close to­get­her­ness for a short while. I even feel that we are luc­ky and pri­vi­le­ged com­pa­red to many ot­hers. We are un­li­ke­ly to star­ve to de­ath, and we have many things to do. I re­al­ly mean it when I say that we are hap­py to be ab­le to live through this time to­get­her with our own fa­mi­ly.

I re­main to wait for the de­ve­lop­ments with many thoughts, ex­pec­ta­ti­ons and even fe­ars. Alt­hough there are no re­li­ab­le ans­wers, I still feel calm and ho­pe­ful. Ma­y­be it is a pri­vi­le­ge to live through such an in­te­res­ting time? This pe­ri­od will le­a­ve a mark on his­to­ry, and pe­op­le can le­arn from it.

“By ten­der good­ness in a qui­et shel­ter

now by the po­wer gra­ci­ous we are brought –

we trust His mer­cy; He will ne­ver al­ter

whate’er in love He gi­ves to be our lot.” (SHZ 600:1)

Text: Satu Luok­ka­nen

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal blog post here.


Herra, sinä olet laupias, muista minua, osoita ikiaikaista hyvyyttäsi. Ps. 25:6

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